Friday, January 16, 2015

Pulling the trigger on public schools

The Parent Trigger law (Parent Empowerment Act of 2010) is possibly the most anti-democratic piece of education legislation passed in California in the last 100 years. The law, which turns parent against parent in a community, gives a temporary majority, who are willing (often cajoled) to sign a petition, the power to hand their public school over to a private company. That company can then fire the principal and all the teachers as well as abrogate the district's collective bargaining agreement. It doesn't matter if next week, or next year, the majority shifts. The school can be privatized and there's little district parents and taxpayers can do about it.

This week a group of parents at "low performing" Palm Elementary School in Anaheim were able to do just that with the help of former State Sen. Gloria Romero's nonprofit consulting group. the California Center for Parent Empowerment. Romero, a Democrat, has become the darling of the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Koch Bros. and receives funding from Walton, Broad and other powerful anti-union, pro-privatization foundations. She was once with the union-busting group Parent Revolution, which originally pushed the trigger law. After breaking with them, she joined up with the former pro-charter, pro-voucher organization DFER. But last year she broke with them to start her own parent trigger group.

While Romero likes to brag about her East L.A. origins and her former community activism, Diane Ravitch has been clear about her move to the right. "She's working for Wall Street hedge fund managers. That's where her interest lies."

GREASY DEASY... The latest on former scandal-ridden L.A. Supt. John Deasy is that he's hooked up with the Broad Foundation and now has joined Parent Trigger founder Ben Austin on the board of Students Matter. They're the anti-teacher, anti-union group, headed up by Silicon Valley billionaire David Welchm that brought us the Vegara anti-teacher-tenure suit.

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